Merion Mercy Academy topped Gettysburg 8-0 in Game One of the PIAA AA State Tournament the only way they know how: Teamwork. All twenty-four players on the squad saw time in the game — a rarity in State tournament action. Head Coach Greta Ehret focused on team unity all season by not distinguishing between varsity and JV. Seems that as a result, all two-dozen players feel a true part of the District One Championship and exude the confidence to play in a big-time game.
“I’m excited we got to play everyone that’s been with us all year,” said Ehret. “It was nice to see the young players get experience at States and to see some of the seniors, who didn’t play as much during the regular season, get in there and really contribute.”
“Today was a really great team effort. We passed really well, which is when we work best, and everyone played,” said captain, Jaime Natale. “I’m proud of our team.”
Merion came out on fire, notching their first of four first-half goals less than 3 minutes into the game. They continued to dominate allowing Gettysburg entry into their offensive 30 yards only four times and once inside the circle in the first half, and not much more for the balance of the game.
The defense, comprised of Caitlin Farkas, Alexandria Lavelle, Cammy Toddy and defensive midfielder Kelsey Farkas was impenetrable. The defense also led the team’s strong transition from all sides of the field. The 1-2-3 passing combinations of Toddy to K. Farkas to midfielder, Margo Carlin were both effective and impressive. Goalkeeper Shannon Bedrossian did not face any shots on goal.
On the offensive end, teamwork and depth prevailed. It was evident that there is no i in team for Merion. Seven players scored on five assists. Captain Kolbe Keating led the team with 5 points (2g, 1a). The midfielders — Carlin, K. Farkas, Keating and Kaely Kyle — were poised in placing passes right on their forwards’ sticks and then attacking goal with dexterity.
Merion’s attackers were a triple-threat, coming from all angles and depths. The team is quick to fire from the top, agile at beating their defenders inside, and adept at tipping. Center forward Jamie Natale seemed to stun Gettysburg at times with her incredible dribbling. Allie Scannapieco and Caroline Stellar round out Merion’s starting lineup, as forwards. The team recorded 13 shots on goal to Gettysburg’s 0. They earned 21 corners, many forced by Keating.
“We practice corners regularly and have a variety of options,” Ehret noted. “In games like this, we let the players call the corners based on what they see on the defense in the circle, so I’m not concerned with (the conversion) and I know we can execute. This is a really good passing and transition team. Most of our goals happen based on really good execution (in open field play).”
The win launches Merion to the Quarterfinals where they will meet Bonner & Prendie, located just a 20-minute drive down Route 1. They will play on neutral ground at Haverford High School on Saturday, November 12 at 11:00 A.M.
“We’re excited about playing Prendie, especially because it’s close and a couple of us know some girls on the team,” said Keating. “We’ve never played them — at least in the four years that I’ve been here, so it’s really never raking — the unknown. But we’re ready!”
Teamwork will definitely continue to play a key role in Merion’s success with awesome passing combinations and contributions coming from the bench. The team will practice for two more days before moving on and, according to K. Farkas, this time will be critical. “Coach always talks about going that extra inch every moment,” said Kelsey Farkas. “And that’s what we need to do. We have to stay focused, and that means we have to go hard in practice too, every moment.”
The TEAM: Brittney Bedrossian (Senior Forward), Shannon Bedrossian (Senior Goalie), Margo Carlin (Sophomore, Midfield), Meghan Devine (Junior Defender), Moira Dougherty (Junior Defender), Sara Ewing (Junior orward), Caitlin Farkas (Junior Defender), Kelsey Farkas (Captain, Senior Midfield), Gianna Giacomin (Senior Defender), Emily Hauck (Freshman Forward), Kolbe Keating (Captain, Senior, Midfielder), Kaely Kyle (Senior Midfield), Alexandria Lavelle (Freshman Defender), Arianna Lavelle (Junior Forward), Maureen McClatchy (Junior Defender), Katie Murphy (Junior Forward), Jaime Natale (Captain, Senior Forward), Tori Natale (Freshman Midfield), Devyn Russo (Junior Midfield), Allie Scannapieco (Senior Forward), Caroline Steller (Senior Forward), Emily Tecco (Senior Defender), Kelly Thomas Junior Forward), Cammy Toddy (Senior, Defender), Maggie Wilson (Senior Defender), Grace Winterle (Junior Midfield) and Alison Zarella (Senior Defender)
Merion Mercy STATS:
Keating assisted by Scannapieco (28:38)
Steller assisted by Keating (21:09)
Keating assisted by Carlin (11:20)
Scannapieco assisted by Stellar (8:44)
Murphy assisted by J. Natale (21:43)
Carlin unassisted (20:40)
K. Farkas unassisted (no time recorded)
J. Natale assisted by Winterle (no time recorded)
Photos by Jake Gallagher. Click to enlarge. Photos available for purchase.
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